Source: "A Reagan approach to climate change," editorial opinion by George P. Schultz, Washington Post, March 13, 2015.
Notes: This George Shultz oped argues climate change is a huge threat:
"the globe is warming and that carbon dioxide has something to do with that fact. Those who say otherwise will wind up being mugged by reality."
As for solving climate change, Schutz remembers the ozone layer shrinking in the mid 1980s:
"There were doubters, but everyone agreed that if it happened, the result would be a catastrophe. Under these circumstances, President Ronald Reagan thought it best not to argue too much with the doubters but include them in the provision of an insurance policy.
With the very real potential for serious harm, U.S. industry turned on its entrepreneurial juices, and the Du Pont company developed a set of replacements for the chemicals implicated in the problem along a reasonable time frame and at a reasonable cost. It came up with something that could be done then — not some aspirational plan for 2050. Action is better than aspiration.
As matters turned out, the action worked and became the basis for the Montreal Protocol, widely regarded as the world’s most successful environmental treaty. In retrospect, the scientists who were worried were right, and the Montreal Protocol came along in the nick of time. Reagan called it a 'magnificent achievement.'"
Relating this story to climate change, Schultz then makes the case:
"We all know there are those who have doubts about the problems presented by climate change. But if these doubters are wrong, the evidence is clear that the consequences, while varied, will be mostly bad, some catastrophic. So why don’t we follow Reagan’s example and take out an insurance policy?"
Schultz then proposes his 'Insurance Policy' for addressing climate change:
1. "Significant and sustained support for energy research and development."
Schultz thinks: "The costs to the federal budget are small — little more than a rounding error — and a serious government effort would attract private capital from investors who want to know what’s new and want to contribute."
2. A revenue neutral carbon tax.* Schultz proclaims: "put a price (on carbon), and let the marketplace adapt. You would be surprised at its creativity."
"That is my proposal. Before you get mugged by reality, take out an insurance policy. It’s the Reagan way."
Image Source: wikipedia.org
* For more information on a revenue neutral carbon tax,
check out Citizens' Climate Lobby.
George P. Schultz is on their Advisory Board.